Baylor, once seen as the nation's best offense and a bonafide contender in the Big 12, is in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
It won't get easier for the Bears, who travel to UCF to face one of the best defenses in the Big 12 and a team that has been great at home this season, knocking off Kansas at home earlier this month. Can UCF play spoiler again as an underdog?
Here's my best bet:
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Baylor vs. UCF Odds, Spread and Total
UCF vs. Baylor Betting Trends
- Baylor is 11-7 against the spread (ATS) this season
- UCF is 4-3 ATS as an underdog ATS this season
- UCF is 5-2 ATS in Big 12 play
- UCF has gone UNDER in 11 of 19 games this season
- UCF has gone UNDER in five of seven games as an underdog
Baylor vs. UCF How to Watch
- Date: Wednesday, January 31st
- Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
- Venue: Addition Financial Arena
- How to Watch (TV): ESPN+
- Baylor Record: 14-5
- UCF Record: 12-7
Baylor vs. UCF Key Players to Watch
RayJ Dennis: The Bears' lead guard was dominant in the team's triple-overtime loss against TCU, scoring 24 pints while dishing out 10 assists, but Baylor can't seem to get out of its way, losing three straight. Against an elite UCF defense, Dennis will need to navigate the floor again for this Baylor offense yet again.
Ibrahim Diallo: Diallo fouled out in just five minutes of action over the weekend against Cincinnati, a massive loss to the Knights' defense with the seven-footer shutting off the rim. Assuming Diallo can stay on the floor, UCF should see a big boost on both sides of the floor. UCF is 10 points better on offense per 100 possessions and is seven percent better at defending at the rim in terms of field goal percentage when he is on the floor.
Baylor vs. UCF Prediction and Pick
The cracks are obvious in the Bears' armor. The team's defense is a rim funnel and its harsh regression from three-point range has led to middling Big 12 results. Baylor has dropped three straight (two in overtime) and now hit the road to face UCF, who bolsters an elite defense.
While the Knights are a step down in class, I can't trust Baylor to run away and hide against a defense that is top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency on the year.
UCF's defense checks in the top 50 nationally in effective field goal percentage allowed, turnover rate, and defensive rebounding percentage, which is going to keep the Baylor offense at bay. This is a team that has struggled when leaving Waco, going 1-2 in true Big 12 road games with its lone win being a road overtime victory against Oklahoma State.
Meanwhile, I'm counting on the poor UCF offense to find some answers with the way Baylor defends the rim. The Knights are dead last in two-point field goal percentage, but Baylor's inability to stop penetration is going to lead to enough easy buckets to keep this game close. Baylor is allowing teams to shoot 55% on two's this season and 62% at the rim, 315th in the country.
Given that Baylor plays at a methodical tempo, the team is the slowest Big 12 team in league play, I believe UCF can keep this one within a few possessions.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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